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I won’t apologise for being too quiet

I won’t apologise for being too quiet

For almost my whole life, i’ve been told how quiet i am. I was chronically shy growing up, which is something you never grow out of, and i find that often, i don’t have anything to say.

I find it very easy to be quiet. I think other people have an issue with that. Every single parents night, my mum would be told that i’m too quiet. That i would do better if i spoke up more, raised my hand more, joined in on class discussions.

She hated hearing it because it was just how i was; it didn’t mean i wasn’t smart or capable. It was the same chat every year. Being quiet is too often seen as a bad trait, and i really don’t think it is.

I used to associate being quiet with being shy. I was probably the most shy person in the world whilst i was a teenager, and keeping to myself just kind of came alongside that. However, my confidence has come on leaps and bounds and i would actually consider myself quite a confident person. But i’m still quiet.

It’s a part of myself that i welcome now. I definitely prefer listening to speaking and in group discussions, i’m more than happy to sit back and let everyone else have a chat. 

Which is why i didn’t get the apprenticeship at the BBC. I refused to interrupt anyone and force my way into the conversation and when i did, my voice was too quiet to be heard anyway.

I think group discussions with groups bigger than four people are an unfair interview tactic. There are people out there who are quiet, but that doesn’t mean they’re less able to do the job. I’m just not an ‘in your face’ kind of person and i physically can’t make my voice be loud unless i’m shouting at my siblings.

Surprisingly, i get on better with people who are louder than i do with people who are just as quiet as me. Someone has to fill this silence! I thrive when i’m around very confident people, i feed off their confidence and transform into a whole new person.

When i’m around people like me, i’m more likely to retreat into my shell and not exude as much confidence. So, i try to find confident friends and acquaintances to bring out the best in myself. 

You just have to find the right kind of confident. There’s people who are confident and try to bring you up to their level of confidence. Then, there’s people who are confident and totally bulldoze you and make you even quieter. I’ve come across quite a few of those people in my life, and we do not get on.

It’s fine, you’re not going to get on with everyone you meet. I’m not expecting to fall in love and be instant friends with everybody out there. But it’s a proper personality clash with these people and i find, honestly, a lot of them have a lack of manners.

So, i’m gonna give you a real situation that prompted this post. Max and i were at a brand lunch. We were sat at the end of the table. Two people were sat next to us, didn’t say hello or introduce themselves to us and it made us feel a little weird.

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With the way that the table was set up, we couldn’t see anyone else and felt completely shut out. Any attempt to join in the conversation was bulldozed by the people next to us. It made me really, really angry.

It’s not difficult to have manners. It’s not difficult to ask questions and try to engage with everyone. Now, i’m not saying it was their responsibility to involve us, but if you hear someone speaking, wouldn’t you let them finish?

I refuse to be made to feel like a lesser human because i’m quiet. It’s been what people focus on for almost my whole life. If i had a pound for the amount of times i heard “you’re so quiet!” i genuinely wouldn’t need a job.

It’s time we stop branding ‘quiet’ as a negative trait. It’s not. Not everyone is able to dominate a conversation and that’s fine. I will always respect the people around me (unless they give me a reason not to) and i don’t think it’s too much to ask for the same in return.

I’m ‘too quiet’ and i’m proud!

Would you say you're a quiet person?

View Comments (9)
  • Such an interesting post! I’m somewhere in the middle but when I get nervous I sometimes don’t shut up because I feel like I need to fill the silence. I really liked your point about how louder/more confident people should help you to feel more confident rather than just talk over you! xx

    • Thank you! I’m prone to just totally clamming up and not speaking or looking at anyone if i get anxious. I don’t think confident people have a responsibility to, but if you’re a nice person then i think you’d do it automatically! I love being around people that make a noticeable effort to include me. They’re the ones i stick with!

  • Yes! All of this I love. I could have wrote this. It’s my exact life too. I am confident these days but also still quiet. I am a qualified PT and had to explain to my course instructors that being quiet is my personality to be able to pass the practical course as I wasn’t going to start shouting, it’s not in me. They totally understood and it showed me to just be me because that’s what makes me special. Me being quiet gives me something unique to offer. Although, I am now also struggling to get a job if I just want to be employed (I’m not currently working as a PT). I would never get anywhere in a group interview. Thank you for sharing your experience! We are more awesome than people give us credit for.
    Love wellbeingfitnesspt (IG handle)

    • I’m the same – i’m confident in myself but i just prefer to stay quiet. It’s amazing that they understood your personality and that you were going to stay true to yourself. I’d definitely prefer a PT that was more on my level and didn’t shout at me to do things! I’ve not come across many group interviews for jobs (apart from the BBC one) thankfully, but applying to university was all group interviews and it was horrible. One was in a group of 9?! How is everyone going to be heard when there’s so many people trying to be seen?!

  • Oh my goodness, this post completely resonates with me. It’s as if I wrote it myself. Every parents evening would be ‘she is very quiet’, I even had one teacher tell me I wasn’t going to get very far or make any friends if I’m so quiet. Can you believe it?! Now I’m in my final year of studying Computer Science at university (with friends!). Quiet people can go far! We are just a different ‘type’ of person. There are loads of different types of people in the world – so why do people feel the need to pick on us quieter ones?

    Thank you for writing this post – I hope it spreads the message further.

    • I just know that if i ever have a daughter, she’ll hear the exact same thing. My mum had it at school as well. We just like being quiet! That’s horrible, it would totally give you a complex if you weren’t confident in yourself, which most pupils aren’t. Quiet doesn’t mean bad or rude or a shit friend, it’s just not loud. Not even a personality trait worth mentioning but, of course, it happens!

  • I’m definitely a quiet person. I struggle in a lot of situations (like the group interview situation you mentioned) to get my voice heard as I don’t like raising my voice. And I also tend to get on better with people who are more outgoing and confident than I am. Also those two people at the event you were at sound awful… people like that are the worst, sadly I know a few in real life!

    • I hate raising my voice, i genuinely won’t do it unless i’m comfortable with the people i’m with. I’m just sick of being bulldozed because although i’m quiet, i’m still a strong person and i don’t deserve to be treated like that. It’s ridiculous!

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